Blackout by Sarah Hepola

blackout

Blackout by Sarah Hepola

 

Reading memoirs is cathartic. They offer tiny glimpses into someone else’s life. Sometimes they make a reader breathe a sign of relief.

Hepola, who was a writer before and after becoming sober, also found stories cathartic. She would often read about addicts with relief that she “wasn’t that bad.”

Eventually, however, it did become “that bad.” One particularly bad episode in Paris, when Hepola was starting out as a journalist, left her mortified for years. She woke up in a stranger’s room with no idea how she had gotten there.

Hepola, who had her first blackout at twelve, continued to drink in high school. Attending University of Texas at Austin, Hepola was caught in a downward spiral.

She describes the unnerving feeling of whole chunks of her life disappearing as if they were “scooped…by a melon baller.”

Hepola drank to ease her anxieties about her weight and her social status in school:

I needed alcohol to drink away the things that plagued me. Not just my doubts about sex – my self-consciousness, my loneliness, my insecurities, my fears.

Later, she drank because she thought it helped her writing. After college she wrote for the entertainment section of an Austin, Texas newspaper.

After re-evaluating her life, Sarah embarks upon a painful journey of sobriety.

We’ve heard this story told many times, in many different forms, but never told so well.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget was a New York Times bestseller.

Similar stories about addiction:

Jacobsen, Lea. Bar Flower.
Laing, Olivia. The Trip to Echo Spring.
Vargas, Elizabeth. Between Breaths: a Memoir of Panic and Addiction.

More memoirs:
Parravani, Christa. Her: A Memoir.
Cahalan, Susan. My Brain on Fire.
Mcbride, Regina. Ghost Songs: A Memoir.

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Hugo: A Look Back

Hugo was released six years and since then its lost none of its charm.

Hugo is a well-shot and well-acted movie that also happens to have a beautiful message.

I first became aware of the book which I always meant to read. The book is a marvelously illustrated and written by Brian Selznick.

Wonderful moments abound in this film, like Hugo hanging on to the arms of enormous clock. The scene looks like something out of the silent film Safety Last. The film honors silent films and silent film makers so this scene is so fitting.

One of the best aspects of the movie, however, is the theme.

Standing near the clear dial of the clock, which is an enormous window, Hugo realizes that the world is like an enormous machine.

If someone has lost their purpose, they are broken, just like the automaton Hugo’s father found. Yet, that doesn’t mean they can’t be “fixed” or redeemed.

“Are you a fixer?” Isabelle asks Hugo. Humbly, he says, “I think so.”

The villain of the movie has a prosthetic leg, which he needs because of a war injury.

The war has left him embittered; plus, he has had a terrible childhood. Consequently, he delights in locking up and terrorizing orphaned children.

Even this character though is “fixed,” in the end, as he returns with a working leg, presumably fixed by Hugo and Papa Georges.

Reading to wellness

Here’s a wonderful article about bibliotherapy.

And So She Thinks

For avid readers, the idea of bibliotherapy is not new at all. Many people feel better after curling up with a good book. There’s a feeling that they are good for the heart and soul, and it’s not unusual to find a feeling of friendship within the page, looking to them for guidance and perspective, asking questions such as ‘What Would Jane Do?’

Using words to soothe the emotions and alter thoughts is the root of bibliography – the use of literature to help people deal with psychological, social and emotional problems. The concept dates back to 300 BC when ancient civilizations placed inscriptions over library entrances that stated that within the building was healing for the soul. Aristotle considered literature to have healing benefits and reading fiction to be a way of treating illness and in Titus Andronicus William Shakespeare encourages the audience to ‘Come, and take choice of…

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For writers (as well)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 

Steve Jobs

Audiobooks all summer long

Download free audiobooks all summer long via SYNC

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Encourage summer listening at your library! SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+ (and adult listeners, too!). From April 27 through August 16, 2017, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads each week, including four outstanding Listening Library titles! Visit www.audiobooksync.com each week for two new audio offerings. Once downloaded, these audios are yours to keep—but hurry, each title is available for one week only!

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves

In Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, the narrator begins in media res.

Rosemary is a well-educated, unreliable narrator. She tells readers she is in mourning because her sister disappeared seventeen years ago and her brother disappeared ten years ago.

In no way is We Are Completely Beside Ourselves a typical missing person story. There’s a lot more at play. Rosemary’s brother is a domestic terrorist and Rosemary’s sister is a chimpanzee for starters. Her father is a psychologist who is keen on treating his children like the psychological subjects he is studying.

Tragic and compelling, this novel explores many tantalizing subjects such as the fallibility of memory, the notion of humanity, and the debilitating effect of family secrets.

For another book about a family’s misadventures in animal experimentation, try We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge.